Epic swim day on Sunday, June 20th, 2015. I can not believe its been 5 years since I last swam the Alcatraz crossing back in 2010. I dreamed about the opportunity to do this swim again for some many years and honestly did not know if it would be possible again. It was a long road back. In the fall 2013, I planned on registering for the Memorial Day 2014 Alcatraz swim only to find out that I was pregnant again and due in June 2014 - so obviously not going to be able to swim Alcatraz. Fast forward to now, I finally had the chance and the health to participate again!
I opted to do the day-before packet pickup at Sports Basement so that I could attend the pre-race briefing. Obviously, I knew about the sighting element of this open water swim and I thought it would be great to get a refresher on it. The meeting was great - super packed and exciting energy about the next day. That night, I was so freakn' excited about the swim - I almost couldn't stand it. When the alarm ran at 4AM, I did not have that feeling of dread which I have had for all of my recent triathlons. I arrived to Chrissy Field by 5:05AM and had time for a brief run warm-up before taking the shuttle bus to Pier 33. We waited around 90 minutes until boarding the boat. Once on the boat, there was nervous excitement and more waiting while our support fleet of kayakers and boats and jet-skis circled the race course.
Finally at race start, the initial group ran out of the boat through the exit door. Since there were timing maps at the door, I assumed that your time would be measured by the chip time. The water was not too cold at around 60 degrees. They warned us that it would be choppy out there. As I remember from earlier year, you get some initial chop in the first 5 minutes and I thought - not too sure. And it picks up. At one point, I was concerned that I would get motion sick. It was on-going rolling waves. My previous technique of sighting everything 6th strokes was out the window since I practically had to sight and breath every 3 strokes. I aimed for a fairly aggressive line - not most aggressive, towards the 3rd pier of Fort Mason. I remembered from earlier years not knowing where to sight on after passing that landmark. This time, I knew to aim for the Palace of Fine Arts. It was a good one since the weather was overcast and it was nice and bright. After that one, I aimed for the Yatch club building. After that, I looked and didn't see anything. It's a trip because I did question where I was for a moment since I couldn't even see other swimmers between the waves. Finally, I sighted the beach and knew the end was near. I was greeted on the beach to the cheers of John and Madison with a swim time of 40:02.
In downloading my course from my Garmin watch, I was really impressed on how straight my line was - it didn't feel this straight during the swim. Great job by me!
Prior to the awards ceremony, the announcer mentioned that awards were based on gun time, not chip time - which means if you were not first out of the boat, your time would have extra seconds/minutes added to it. I did not know this! Luckily, the difference between gun time and my Garmin watch time was only :40 seconds so I was ahead of the 2nd place woman in my age group by 8 minutes so it didn't matter. However, note for the future on the importance on getting out of the boat in the first wave.
Great aspect of Tri-California events are nice medals! I feel very fortunate to have won this 1st place gold medal at such a fabulous event.
RANK: 1st in Age Group. 30-39 Female.
TOTAL SWIM TIME: 1.5 miles. 40:02. Alcatraz Swim Course.